Newsflash...! U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid exposed for alleged sweetheart land deal windfall in home state of Nevada...
Just a little---okaaay, maybe a lot---of sleight of hand manipulation of dollars and numbers to allegedly hide minor things like ownership of land, payment or non-payment of taxes, and miss-reporting on his federally-required-of-Senators financial disclosures to the SEC. Never mind that he is reported to have violated Senate Ethics Rules.
Now, isn't Reid one of the host of Democrat pots calling Republican Mark Foley black for the past week or more...? And one who has been calling our President crass names for the past 5-1/2 years and screeching about a Republican "culture of corruption?"
Is Reid now going to be the one caught in the cross-hairs, or will the usual mainstream media suspects go silent on what smells here like corruption? I have to admit I was surprised that the AP actually broke this news and put it out there for public consumption. Kudos to them.
What is it that Democrat Representative Mollohan is being investigated for? Using earmarks to enrich himself and his buddies while in office...? Soooo...., has Bush-bashing Harry Reid used his office to enrich himself... and others?
I do believe there should be an immediate Congressional investigation of Reid's alleged windfall profits, possible influence peddling and false, untimely or missing financial disclosures. Now. Before the November 7 election, so voters will have all the facts.
We need to know exactly what Reid did, why and how he did it, how he and his buddy benefited, how much they benefited, and how he will be punished if he is proven to have, in fact, miss-reported or failed to report his finances to a federal government entity. And whatever else these characters have pulled off that may have had the advantage of influence due to Reid's official position and clout as a U.S. Senator?
It's only fair.
Read more below and here.
"AP Exclusive: Reid Got $1M in Land Sale"
"Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show... In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.
The Nevada Democrat's deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He's never been charged with wrongdoing _ except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.
Land deeds obtained by The Associated Press during a review of Reid's business dealings show:
_The deal began in 1998 when Reid bought undeveloped residential property on Las Vegas' booming outskirts for about $400,000. Reid bought one lot outright, and a second parcel jointly with Brown. One of the sellers was a developer who was benefiting from a government land swap that Reid supported...
_In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn't disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown's company. He continued to report to Congress that he personally owned the land.
_After getting local officials to rezone the property for a shopping center, Brown's company sold the land in 2004 to other developers and Reid took $1.1 million of the proceeds, nearly tripling the senator's investment. Reid reported it to Congress as a personal land sale.
The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later.
Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week...
Senate ethics rules require lawmakers to disclose on their annual ethics report all transactions involving investment properties _ regardless of profit or loss _ and to report any ownership stake in companies...
Kent Cooper, who oversaw government disclosure reports for federal candidates for two decades in the Federal Election Commission, said Reid's failure to report the 2001 sale and his ties to Brown's company violated Senate rules. "This is very, very clear," Cooper said. "Whether you make a profit or a loss you've got to put that transaction down so the public, voters, can see exactly what kind of money is moving to or from a member of Congress...
SALE HIDDEN FROM CONGRESS... Reid and his wife, Landra, personally signed the deeds selling their full interest in the property to Brown's company, Patrick Lane LLC, for the same $400,000 they paid in 1998, records show.
Despite the sale, Reid continued to report on his public ethics reports that he personally owned the land until it was sold again in His disclosure forms to Congress do not mention an interest in Patrick Lane or the company's role in the 2004 sale.
AP first learned of the transaction from a former Reid aide who expressed concern the deal hadn't been properly reported.
Reid isn't listed anywhere on Patrick Lane's corporate filings with Nevada, even though the land he sold accounted for three-quarters of the company's assets. Brown is listed as the company's manager... The informalities didn't stop there.
PROPERTY TAXES LOOSELY HANDLED... And the two men continued to pay the property taxes from their personal checking accounts even after the land was sold to Patrick Lane in 2001, records show... One year the taxes were delinquent and resulted in a small penalty, the records show.
Ethics experts said such informality raises questions about whether any of Brown's tax payments amounted to a benefit for Reid. "It might be a gift," Cooper said...
FEDERAL LAND SWAPS... Nevada land deeds show Reid and his wife first bought the property in January 1998 in a proposed subdivision created partly with federal lands transferred by the Interior Department to private developers. Reid's two lots were never owned by the government, but the piece of land joining Reid's property to the street corner _ a key to the shopping center deal _ came from the government in 1994... For years, Reid also had been encouraging Interior to make land swaps on behalf of Del Webb, where one of his former aides worked.
In 1994, Reid wrote a letter with other Nevada lawmakers on behalf of Del Webb, and then met personally with a top federal land official in Nevada. That official claimed in media reports he felt pressured by the senator. Reid denied any pressure.
The next year, Reid collected $18,000 in political donations from Del Webb's political action committee and employees. Del Webb's efforts to get federal land dragged on. In December 1996, Reid wrote a second letter on behalf of Del Webb, urging Interior to answer the company's concerns. The deal came together in summer and fall 1997... A real estate attorney handled the 1998 sale at arms-length, aides said.
THE REZONING... Clark County intended for the property Reid owned to be used solely for new housing, records show. Just days before Reid sold the parcels to Brown's company, Brown sought permission in May 2001 to rezone the properties so a shopping center could be built.
Career zoning officials objected... The town board in Spring Valley, where Reid's property was located, also voted 4-1 to reject the rezoning. Brown persisted. The Clark County zoning board followed by the Clark County Commission voted to overrule the recommendation and approve commercial zoning...
Before the approval in September 2001, Brown's consultant told commissioners that Reid was involved. "Mr. Brown's partner is Harry Reid, so I think we have people in this community who you can trust to go forward and put a quality project before you," the consultant testified.
With the rezoning granted, Patrick Lane pursued the shopping center deal. On Jan. 20, 2004, the company sold the property to developers for $1.6 million...
On Jan. 21, 2004, Reid received more than $1.1 million of the sale proceeds. Reid disclosed the money the following year on his Senate ethics report as a personal sale of land, not mentioning Patrick Lane..."
A BUSINESS PARTNER'S PAST... Brown has been a behind-the-scenes power broker in Nevada for years, donating to Democrats, Republicans and charities. He represented a major casino in legal cases and dabbled in Nevada's booming real estate market.
Brown befriended Reid four decades ago, even before Reid served as chairman of the Nevada gaming commission and decided cases involving Brown's clients. Brown's name has surfaced in federal investigations involving organized crime, casinos and political bribery since the 1980s..."